Going through this week’s new films and series has made one thing clear to me this first week of November: welcome to Christmas, it’s already Christmas, have 30 Christmas series, 75 Christmas movies, and a Hanukkah film. Interestingly, this is still a field where male directors seem to direct almost everything out there. I noticed this the last two years as well. Men churn out a ton of holiday movies.
We’re still at a place where men are more likely to be chosen to direct, regardless of a director’s talent, and films by men are more likely to be platformed than films by women, regardless of its quality. It’s not just that, though. When it comes to holiday movies, it seems like the counts are even more lopsided toward men than the general field. I don’t have a solid theory as to why; feel free to suggest any.
Another thing that gets me is how much crossover there is with horror. Indie horror directors pump out films that are dripping with gore one minute before turning around and making feel-good Christmas romances. It hadn’t occurred to me there are shared skills between the two, but both have got to hook you out of the gate to hold your attention and both have to meet strict deadlines with tight budgets. This doesn’t explain why so many are men when one could argue women directors are dominating horror right now, but it’s one more curiosity in the annual two-month holiday movie boom.
Is it a matter of a handful of directors bringing who they know in? A possibility, but there are so many Christmas movies that it’s hard to pin it just to this. Is it because some are “faith-based” and religious production companies favor male directors? Many of these films don’t seem faith-based, at least insofar as a Christmas movie ever can be secular.
Is it because beginning to approach some form of equality in horror is pushing an overflow of male directors into another field? If anything, the number of streaming services and increased popularity of horror the last few years has offered more opportunities than the genre can keep up with. Horror films that would have done local festival circuits and disappeared into obscurity a few years ago are getting scooped up hand over fist by streaming services – I have a hard time imagining there’s not enough room for all in the genre today.
That leaves me with more questions than answers. I’ll ask around.
New series by women this week come from Colombia and the U.S., and new movies by women from Lebanon, the Netherlands, and the U.S.
showrunner Vanessa Ramos
half-directed by women
Randall Park stars as the manager of the last Blockbuster video store as he tries to keep the business alive in an era of streaming video. It’s loosely based on the actual last Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon, famous for its irreverent online humor, tourist destination status, and collections of celebrity memorabilia from other, less powerful Blockbusters that fell along the way.
Showrunner Vanessa Ramos was a writer and producer on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Superstore”. She got her start as a writer on awards shows – i.e. comedic bits on the MTV Movie Awards and Oscars.
Jackie Clarke, Aleysa Young, and Katie Locke O’Brien direct five of the show’s 10 episodes between them.
You can watch “Blockbuster” on Netflix. There are 10 episodes, all out now.
The Final Score (Netflix)
co-directed by Claudia Zie
This Colombian series recounts the story of a national soccer team that saw players unwillingly involved in drug trafficking and an on-field mistake connected to a high-profile murder.
Claudia Zie splits her time as a voice actress between Europe and the Americas, as well as live action acting, writing, and directing. On “The Final Score”, she co-directs three episodes with Carlos Moreno and another three with Oscar Ruiz Navia.
You can watch “The Final Score” on Netflix. There are 6 episodes, all out now.
Costa Brava, Lebanon (Netflix)
directed by Mounia Akl
This Lebanese film finds a family choked by pollution and powerless to stop an illegal landfill created right next to their home. The film was Lebanon’s entry to the Oscars.
This is director and co-writer Mounia Akl’s first feature. She wrote the script with Clara Roquet.
You can watch “Costa Brava, Lebanon” on Netflix.
The Takeover (Netflix)
directed by Annemarie van de Mond
Mel is a whitehat hacker in the Netherlands. She’s framed for murder after she unveils a privacy scandal. There’s only so much time to find the criminals who are blackmailing her before the police chase her down.
Director Annemarie van de Mond started as an assistant director in the late 90s. This led to script supervisor roles on films like “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and on series like “Rome”. After directing on series and TV movies, she helmed her first feature in 2020. “The Takeover” is her second.
You can watch “The Takeover” on Netflix.
Christmas on Repeat (Hulu)
directed by Lindsay Hartley
Santa grants an ad executive the chance to live Christmas over and over again so she can spend it with her family.
Director Lindsay Hartley has helmed a number of TV movies.
You can watch “Christmas on Repeat” on Hulu.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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